Five tips on how to celebrate the Melbourne Cup

THE Melbourne Cup is Australia’s premier horse race and also one of Melbourne’s most popular public holidays. Tim Morgan gives his tips on how to celebrate the big day.

Melbourne Cup day at Flemington. Photo by Charlievdb via Flickr

Melbourne Cup day at Flemington. Photo by Charlievdb via Flickr

On Tuesday, November 5, everyone in the state of Victoria will have a whole day of freedom or receive double pay from work, all for a three and a half minute horse race.

Unless you’re one of the unfortunate souls who has to sit an exam scheduled on the day, it’s your duty to either get your eyes to a TV or your ears to a radio in anticipation for the 153rd edition of the annual Melbourne Cup.

While the Melbourne Cup is Australia’s greatest prize for any horse or jockey, it is also one of Melbourne’s biggest celebrations. So whilst the Cup race itself will last little after its 3.00pm start, there is a lot more that goes into successfully celebrating “the race that stops a nation”.

To help you not waste Tuesday’s public holiday we here at Meld have compiled five essential tips to celebrate the Melbourne Cup in true Aussie fashion.

1. Dress smart

Most people like to kick festivities off around race 2 at 11.00am. This leaves you with just a casual four hours before the Melbourne Cup is run.

The day is long so don’t end up like many of the actual racegoers who end up barefoot on Southern Cross station with their heels draped over their shoulder. Be smart and keep comfortable if you intend to actually visit the Flemington Racecourse.

2. Back a horse

This will be the only time I advocate gambling but it does seem to be an essential part of Cup day. It is the only day your Nan will pry open her coin purse to place a 50 cent bet or witness your friends spend hours dissecting form guides they don’t even know how to read.

Everyone has their own strategy for tipping a winner and with a field of 24 horses, they will more than likely get it wrong. So gamble responsibly and don’t expect to pay for next month’s rent or next semester’s tuition with your winnings.

3. Run a sweep

For me, this is easily the most essential part of any Cup day celebration as it means at least someone walks away with money.

For a sweep you get everyone to put in some money (up to you how much money is involved) and then divide the whole field amongst the players. For example, if six people are playing, you each get four horses to yourselves. The horse selection must be completely random, giving everyone the exact same chance of winning. You can divide the winnings any way you want but most like to give some money for the person who comes last.

4. Don’t go too early

The Melbourne Cup is a long race – 3200m to be exact – so don’t get caught celebrating too early. The horses will in fact pass the winning post twice so don’t start collecting your winnings when they pass for the first time.

In fact, more often than not, the front runner doesn’t figure in the placing’s, so if your selection leads early that may be your queue to grab another drink or sneak off to the toilet.

5. Have fun

The most important part of the day is to gather round with a bunch of friends, forget about school and exams, down a few beverages and celebrate the fact you’re in a country that gives you the day off for a horse race. If you get this part right I’m sure you will have a great Melbourne Cup day no matter the result!

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